Extinguishing the 2008 Olympic Beijing Flame

The Olympic flame is trying to fire its way to Beijing, China for the 2008 games.  It seems, however, there are some people who wish to douse the symbolic fire to protest the lack of human rights in China.


We know the USA is deep in debt to China.  Protests in Burma resulted in rivulets of bloodshed

Yesterday, the Golden Gate Bridge was a billboard of protest against China for its capturing of Tibet.

The French are not fans of the Chinese Olympic flame and they successfully doused the torch a few times.

Are the Olympic games the appropriate place to make a stand against China’s international atrocities against the human spirit?

Or should we intellectually separate our emotion from our memory and not punish the athletes with the politics of their home countries?

The torch relay has been disrupted in Greece,
Istanbul, London and Paris by protesters opposed to China’s policies in
Tibet and overall human rights record. More problems are expected
Wednesday in San Francisco, the only North American leg of the relay.

“I’m definitely concerned about what has
happened in London and in Paris,” Rogge said. “I’m deeply saddened by
the fact that such an important symbol has been attacked. We recognize
the right for people to protest and express their views but it should
be non-violent. We are very sad for all the athletes and the people who
expected so much from the run and have been spoiled of their joy.”

Should the international flame relay be cancelled or not?

Should we boycott the Beijing Olympics?

Or should we only make a transparent protest by not attending the opening ceremonies?

16 comments

  • let them play the games. i don’t care about protest but the players should play.

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  • arin –
    So you don’t see athleticism as a source of political or national pride? If the athletes aren’t playing for the benefit of their home counties, why break them up into competing nations?

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  • that is what i think. they can wear team colors and try to win medals. don’t do it for politic. have fun at it

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  • Gordon Davidescu

    Ever since I was at Peddie (link to relevant urb article should go here but I can’t find one that works) I have had instilled in me the idea that sports and politics go hand in hand. Every year we competed with a rival school, Blair, for the Potter-Kelley cup; or, the Kelley-Potter cup, depending on which school was boasting about the cup.
    Living in Seattle these last few years has made a Mariners fan of me though at heart I do heart the Mets / Yankees (and even though they moved 20 years before I was born, the Brooklyn Dodgers :).
    I say let the games go on. The large carbon footprint fire ceremony may need to be modified, however. :) We can mark our protestation with appropriate shirts. The world will take notice even if China won’t care.

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  • Gordon!
    Here’s a link that works for the article:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/05/28/celebrity-prep-schools/
    You’re right that we mark our territory with our local loyalties. We separate ourselves with pride and achievements in order to measure our greatness against others. Competition can be a fine thing, but I do think Jimmy Carter was wrong to withhold our participation from the Olympics. The only people that “got the message” were our athletes who were wounded because they couldn’t play.

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  • Gordon Davidescu

    President Carter, not surprisingly, erred in the lack of participation in the Olympics. There would be so many ways to participate and yet express discontent – not just to say, “You’re doing something we don’t like so we’re not coming to the playground; take that!”

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  • I agree, Gordon! Carter really botched it. He made us look like bad sports and kids that trained for four years were ripped out of competition because of a silly political stand.

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  • Donna Tessitore

    Complicated political situation!
    The Olympics is that rare opportunity to put politics aside and allow our greatest world athletes to come together and compete and in the process the world comes together.
    These protesters need to find another venue to protest! This isn’t the time nor the place!

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  • Your comment is prescient, Donna, and I agree seeing these protesters trying to make their claim on the backs of those carrying the torch is unseemly. I understand they are upset, but they’re verging on violence — the same sort of violence they claim to eschew.

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  • sure looks different around here. Ithink thebring out important issues. The protests get attention.

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  • Let them fight it out in the streets. The little guy needs the teevee lights to make it fair. The bullies workit in back alleys.

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  • I appreciate your feedback on the new look and feel of the site, Anne. It feels faster and sure does seem cleaner.
    I agree the protests are getting attention. I just wish it didn’t have to be through violence.

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  • I understand repression requires the darkness, but Karvain, I’m not sure if violence stops violence. The big banners on the Golden Gate Bridge are more my style — dangerous, sure — but only to those risking the beauty of the protest.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    Hi David,
    All protests are effective when tied up with a big event – that way it makes sense.
    But personally I think athletics/sports/games should be for fun and healthy competition – not to be considered/used as a platform for other political/regional protests etc.

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  • That makes sense, Katha, that protests need the light of a big event to be seen and then absorbed. I agree the games should be played. Let the athletes create the peace the politicians cannot.

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  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    Exactly!

    Like

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